Financial Times: HTC making not one, not two, but three different smartphones for Amazon

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 15 Oct 2013

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According to a new report from The Financial Times, Amazon wants to enter the smartphone business, and they’re going to do it with the help of HTC. The tiny Taiwanese smartphone maker is said to be working on three different devices for the online retailer, with one of them allegedly in “an advanced stage of development”. Don’t get too excited, however, because when The Financial Times asked Amazon to comment on the story, the company declared that it would not be announcing any phones this year. Translation: These are 2014 devices, assuming Amazon doesn’t decide to cancel the project.

Why does Amazon want to enter the cutthroat competitive smartphone market? Your guess is as good as mine. Had they tried to do this in Asia or Europe, where people buy their phones unlocked, then it makes sense to sell phones at cost to consumers looking to save some money. But the thing is, Amazon is big in the UK and in the USA, two countries where people live and die by subsidies. Americans think the $750 iPhone is $200 and that the new iPhone 5c is $99, when in reality it’s actually $650. How will Amazon enter the American market? Free phones? Free phones that come with free Amazon Prime?

And that’s the real big issue here. Similar to how most people don’t pay attention to the phones Sharp releases in Japan or the phones Pantech releases in South Korea, whatever Amazon releases will likely only be sold where Amazon’s ecosystem is strong. You can count all the countries that fit that description on one hand.